What is firearms training, really?

When we’re at shows or out talking to people about firearms training, we often hear a familiar phrase:

I haven’t had any formal training but I’ve been watching videos on YouTube and going to the range to practice.

Now, before we get into it, don’t misunderstand. We love Hicock45, NutnFancy, and all the rest. In fact, we feel so strongly about GunTalk’s First Person Defender that we’ve posted the series here on our website to make sure our students watch and learn from them.

However, seeing is different than doing. Say you went into a hospital for a risky surgery that your life depended on and you asked your doctor if he’d ever done the procedure before. He responds “Well no, but I’ve watched hours of footage of other doctors doing it.” What would be your response?

You’d probably find another hospital. We would.

So why would you trust something equally as serious—a true life or death situation—to a few hours of “training” on the television or computer?

When you go to the range and try to practice what you saw in a video, you don’t have the advantage of several of professional training’s most important benefits:

  • Professional one-on-one instruction to make sure you’re performing drills properly—and the assurance you won’t have to un-learn improper or unsafe technique or skills down the road
  • Instant feedback for improvement (and safety)
  • The ability to draw from your holster (not allowed on most public ranges)
  • The ability to move on the firing line
  • The assurance that you’re practicing drills, technique, speed, etc. appropriate for your skill level.

Just as surgery cannot be considered a hobby to be learned on YouTube, self defense should not be entertained with only passing dedication. In either case, when the rubber hits the road, the participant will require sound skills honed through proper instruction and disciplined practice. Shooting is undoubtedly fun. It’s the reason most of us originally picked up a gun in the first place. But carrying a firearm for self defense is also a serious matter that demands serious attention and proper real-life training.

So watch videos like the First Person Defender Series, or gear reviews, or a dude hugging wild lions—but make sure you’re also getting proper training—the training that you’ll need if you’re ever to face a life threatening situation (and the split-second decisions that those scenarios require) with the skills and mindset that will allow you not just to survive, but to win.